Spirit Guides. We All Have Them.

Spirit Guides. We all have them. Each and everyone of us.

I used to believe it was only “special” people who had guides and, when I became aware that I had guides – because other people told me about them, I believed only “special” people could access them. When I was told, by different people in different situations, that I was intuitively powerful, I didn’t believe it. When I was asked to access my intuition, all I drew were blanks and guesses.

Until the veil began to lift – just a little bit.

I first became aware of my guides because other people – psychics, mediums, intuitively gifted individuals – told me about them. I always believed in spirit so to have someone tell me about a guide was a gift. The first one I was told was watching over me was a priest from my father’s family. I asked my father if there had been a priest in our family and he told me about Bishop who died when I was young. I used to sit on his lap and play with his cross.

I was told about a master guide wizard who grew ominously large and fierce when protecting me from harm.

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Sacred Art – my lion and a medicine woman – channeled for me by artist Tania Marie

Then I took part in my first drumming ceremony. The guidance we were given beforehand was to pay attention to animals that were coming to us. It was clear that my spirit animal was a lion, so many images of lions came to me in the days before the drumming. And it was / is my journey animal. In the drumming ceremony, I tried hard to have a vision and nothing came. Until I stopped trying so hard, surrendering to what was there – a sense of things that became vivid images – a meadow, then trees, then flying with the lion (yes, lions can fly in spirit world if they want to – and you can fly with them), then a bonfire with people chanting, laughing and dancing around the fire. The lion and I landed, shape shifting into one, dancing around the fire with the greatest sense of joy.

For a long time after that, nothing. Plus, I didn’t know what to do with what I already knew. Then, one day driving in rain pouring so hard it felt dangerous, I called on the support of everyone’s guides who were in the car and another appeared – a native American brave, young, strong with sharp features. And there are others and more.

The feeling of love and support when you know there are guides and entities in the unseen world who are always, always there is incredible. They are there, even when we don’t know they are. They love to be seen and acknowledged and all it takes is a simple turning of attention to them, just a thought and they come into awareness.

Many of us don’t go searching for them because we are afraid maybe they aren’t there, or we are not worthy, or we won’t know how to be in conscious relationship. But it is such a gift. To them. To us.

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My own first rendition of my medicine woman guide – she urged me to draw her during an experience in Brazil in 2011

When I became aware that not only did I have guides, but I could help other people become aware of and connect with their guides – discovered almost my accident that I could do this, I did that work for awhile – helping people develop relationships with their guides. Like so many things, it fell by the wayside for a while. Now, people who have been reading Embracing the Stranger in Me are asking me to coach them in meeting their guides. And I remember, that this is also work I am called to do, a gift I have to share and I am gifted with seeing other people’s guides, the delight they have in being acknowledged. So, I have been stepping back in and happy to talk to anyone about what coaching support looks like for you to connect with your guides. You do have them and they want you to know them.

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Not Just Cover Design: Sacred Art

Like the book itself, the artwork on the cover of Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedenss, has a story of its own to tell.  It is a story of synchronicity and timing, one of flow, one of channeling and of ritual or initiation.  It is the story of two things, each percolating for years, each on their own.  The book, of course.  And the artwork. And not just any artwork – sacred art.  Sacred art for me and for the book.

The genesis of the artwork was a long brewing curiosity and interest in possibly getting a tattoo.  Around 2009, when I felt the birthing of the second half of my life, I began to imagine getting a tattoo.  I didn’t know what image I wanted, nor did I know where on my body I would want to put this image.  At one point, my son’s girlfriend found a fabulous shamanic image of a woman and a power animal – which I bookmarked and then lost when I got a new computer.

When my interest in a tattoo renewed itself, I began searching the internet for images, knowing I wanted a lion as part of the image. Nothing ever emerged that resonated deeply for me or that I wanted to put on my body in permanent ink.  And then, early in 2013, at the same time my book was moving to its publishing phase, a Facebook friend began to blog about her journey to a sacred tattoo and I knew I was supposed to pay attention.

Through this friend, I got in touch with sacred tattoo artist Tania Marie.  The tattoo was to represent the spiritual dimension of my journey so I shared a couple of chapters from the book that reflected this journey as well as other reflections on what I felt the tattoo was to represent.  Tania meditated on me and my journey and began to channel the design.  What she channeled, before even reading what I sent her, was very consistent and resonant with what I shared.

Around the same time, the publisher started asking me about any ideas I might have for the design of the cover of my book. It was the first time I put the two things together.  Without even seeing the design, it occurred to me that the spiritual skin just might become the artwork for the book cover.   When I saw the artwork, I knew it was so.

Kathy Sacred Tattoo DesignArtwork by Tania Marie

There is much story contained in the elements of the art which embraces the elements of earth, fire, air, water and spirit and I will share some of it here, largely in the words Tania shared with me.

The medicine woman is in the process of shapeshifting into the lion who is my journey partner since my first drumming circle experience in 2000.  The medicine woman wears feathers of the eagle or owl in her hair, entwined twigs and leaves of Mother Earth, his mane and her hair and shawl all merging and integrating.

A lotus essence, almost like ethereal fire, emerges atop the swallowtail butterfly, with energy integrating into the lion’s mane, the medicine woman’s hair and shawl. The butterfly is releasing and freeing its creative abundance and joyful breadth of life-giving and is a messenger of powerfully transformative healing and regenerative energy and symbolism across time of the precious miracle of life, hope, love, transmutation, magick, joy,

The art is hugely rooted in shamanism, centeredness, balance, groundedness, empowerment, expansion, opening, releasing and honoring, as well as deepening emergence – all symbols and allies in deep journey and in transformation which is in continual motion.  Such a humbling experience to be offered this gift to be put at my back as a symbol of deeper healing, gifts, growth and protection.

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Photo by John Coleman and Michelle Murton

 

When it was time to have the tattoo inked on my skin, I went to see Kyle Bowles at Soul Harbour, the same tattoo artist that my friend had used.  It was done in two sessions, the first to do the outline, the second to do the colour.  Many people have asked me if it hurt.  It is hard to explain.  It is pain and not pain at the same time.  The only way I could think of it was as an initiation – like I might have gone through in a previous time, as the medicine woman depicted in the art, ritual, something that had to be done.

I love the colour version of the tattoo on my back – Kyle and I picked out the colours and it is even better than I imagined it would be.  And it was the black and white original art work that was to adorn the cover of the book.  I sent it off to the publisher and the design team there sent it back with the colour and shading that was just perfect for the book.

The interweaving of story, synchronicity, beauty, love and joy. A depiction of one aspect of the stranger in me showing up in the fullness of the openhearted journey.

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